National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence issues report on how to maintain U.S. dominance

National Security Commission AI

The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence today released its report today with dozens of recommendations for President Joe Biden, Congress, and business and government leaders. China, the group said, represents the first challenge to U.S. technological dominance that threatens economic and military power for the first time since the end of World War II. The 15-member commission calls a $40 billion investment…

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Medisafe raises $30 million for predictive AI that reminds people to take their pills

Device Calendar App

Medisafe, a startup developing a platform to promote medication adherence, has raised $30 million in venture capital.

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Amazon launches computer vision service to detect defects in manufactured products

Amazon

Amazon announced the general availability of Amazon Lookout for Vision, a cloud service that analyzes images using computer vision and AI to spot product or process defects and anomalies in manufactured products. Amazon says Lookout for Vision, which is available in select Amazon Web Services (AWS) regions via the AWS console and suppo

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Band of AI startups launch ‘rebel alliance’ for interoperability

Server stack

The AI Infrastructure Alliance wants to improve interoperability between tools and frameworks made by small to medium-size AI startups. More than 20 AI startups have banded together to create the AI Infrastructure Alliance in order to build a software and hardware stack for machine learning and adopt common standards.

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Katana Graph raises $28.5 million to handle unstructured data at scale

Katana Graph

Katana Graph developed its technology at the University of Texas, Austin and has helped DARPA and businesses with unstructured data.

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Blueshift raises $30 million to manage and analyze customer data

Blueshift

Customer data analytics company Blueshift today announced it has closed a $30 million series C round, bringing its total raised to $65 million. The company plans to put the funds toward expanding its workforce while further developing its marketing platform.

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Truvian raises $105 million to commercialize its automated blood-testing platform

Truvian

San Diego, California-based Truvian, a startup developing blood-testing technology that leans heavily on automation, today announced the close of an over $105 million oversubscribed series C round led by TYH Ventures, 7wireVentures’ Glen Tullman, and Wittington Ventures. Truvian says the funds will advance development of its benchtop blood testing system and enable the company to grow its product development team.

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Symbio emerges from stealth with $30 million to automate industrial assembly

Engineer fixing robotic arm

Emeryville, California-based industrial robotics startup Symbio Robotics today emerged from stealth with $30 million in funding. The company says the capital will be put toward further developing its technology as it looks to sign new customers.

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Saltmine raises $20 million to automate office space design

People in a workspace

Commercial office space planning startup Saltmine today announced that it raised $20 million and formed a strategic partnership with real estate firm JLL. Saltmine, whose customers include Snowflake and Workday, says it plans to put the funding toward advancing its platform and expanding its global workforce.

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FundGuard raises $12 million to help manage assets with AI

Fund Guard

FundGuard, an AI-powered software-as-a-service investment management platform, today announced that it closed a $12 million funding round. The investment will spur product development to support existing partnerships, FundGuard says, in addition to helping to meet demand from alternative funds and insurers.

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Google’s Model Search automatically optimizes and identifies AI models

Google Building

Google today announced the release of Model Search, an open source platform designed to help researchers develop machine learning models efficiently and automatically. Instead of focusing on a specific domain, Google says that Model Search is domain-agnostic, making it capable of finding a model architecture that fits a dataset and problem while minimizing coding time and compute resources.

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Reprise raises $17 million to create and host software product demos

Blog on screen

Reprise, a software demo platform for enterprise sales and marketing teams, today announced that it has raised $17 million in series A funding led by Bain Capital Ventures. The company says that the proceeds, which follow on a $3 million seed investment, will be put toward expanding Reprise’s platform and hiring new employees.

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Sentry raises $60 million to monitor app performance in real time

Sentry Platform

Application performance monitoring startup Sentry today announced it has secured $60 million in series D financing for a post-money valuation of $1 billion. Sentry says the funds will fuel product development and go-to-market functions, as well as hiring across the company’s San Francisco, Toronto, and Vienna offices.

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Boast.ai secures $100 million to help startups claim R&D tax credits

Boast.ai Platform

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Boast.ai, a company developing software that automates the process of claiming R&D tax credits, today announced that it secured a $100 million credit facility from Brevet Capital. The company plans to use the loan to further develop its platform as it looks to expand its startup customer base.
Each year, the federal governments of the U.S. and Canada provide more than $15 billion in innovation incentives to private companies. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly a third of U.S. patents rely directly on U.S. government-funded research. But filling out the applications to receive this funding is often a cumbersome process — and yet another barrier for companies squeezed by the pandemic as venture capitalists pull back on early-stage investments.

Boast.ai, which has offices in Vancouver, Toronto, and Calgary, Canada, in addition to its San Francisco headquarters, was cofounded in 2011 by Alex Popa and Lloyed Lobo. Popa previously managed the R&D tax practices for large accounting firms, while Lobo formerly ran product and growth for a number of venture-backed tech startups.
Boast.ai aims to automate the government grant application process with a machine learning-powered tax credit platform. The company’s software and teams of accountants gather data from existing technical and financial systems to help identify, categorize, and time-track eligible projects, with the goal of larger claims, lower risk, and less time invested from teams. Among the data sources Boast.ai draws on are payroll, development platforms like GitHub and Jira, and accounting, which its systems leverage to produce time-tracking documents and tax forms, along with audit evidence, timelines, and balance sheets.

Boast.ai specifically targets three types of tax credits: the U.S. Research & Experimentation Tax Credit (R&D Tax Credit) and the Canadian government’s SR&ED Tax Credits (SR&ED) and Interactive Digital Media Tax Credits (IDMTC). The R&D Tax Credit, which was made permanent in 2015, is a general business tax credit for companies that incur R&D costs germane to salaries, subcontractor-related expenses, and materials in the U.S. The SR&ED is a program that covers up to 70% of R&D expenditures for creating or improving existing products, processes, principles, methodologies, and materials in Canada. As for the IDMTC, it provides a refundable 17.5% tax credit on eligible salaries and wages for Canadian employees involved in producing video games, educational software, entertainment software, and simulators.
The 35-employee Boast.ai claims to have helped secure over $200 million in R&D funding for more than 1,000 customers to date, including Lendesk, Oral4D, and Policy Works. The startup also says it has been doubling growth year-over-year since launch, with annual recurring revenue in the “eight figures” and an over 80% gross margin.
“R&D is the engine of the modern economy, and innovative companies should be able to access the tax credits they’re entitled to,” Popa said in a statement. “We’ve spent almost a decade honing our craft to help customers get more money, faster and with less risk, compared to any other solution in the market. We empower companies from startups to large enterprises to quantify the value of their R&D efforts, then leverage that asset through a successful R&D tax credit application which allows them to grow their business without unnecessary outside capital.”
The credit facility brings Boast.ai’s total raised to over $120 million following a $23 million fundraising round in December.

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Locus Robotics raises $150 million to scale its warehouse robotics platform

Locus Robotics

Locus Robotics, a Wilmington, Massachusetts-based warehouse robotics startup, today announced it has raised $150 million in series E funding at a $1 billion post-money valuation. The company says the funding will allow it to accelerate product innovation and global expansion. Locus expects that in the next four years, over a million warehouse robots will be installed and that the number of warehouses using them will grow tenfold.

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AirSlate raises $50 million more to automate enterprise workflows

Document workflow

AirSlate, a workflow automation startup, today announced it raised $50 million in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank. The capital comes after a $40 million round in January led by Morgan Stanley and General Catalyst, and it brings the company’s total raised to $130 million. When McKinsey surveyed 1,500 executives across industries and regions in 2018…

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Edgybees raises $9.5 million for AI that augments drone camera footage

Drones

Edgybees, a provider of georegistration and augmented reality tools for drone operators, today announced that it raised $9.5 million, bringing its total raised to $15 million. The company says the proceeds will be used to drive product research, expand global adoption, and support an “aggressive” hiring strategy.

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TigerGraph raises $105 million to grow its big data analytics platform

Multi-coloured characters

TigerGraph, a Redwood City, California-based startup developing graph database tools, today announced that it’s raised $105 million in series C funding. The company says it’ll put the proceeds toward product R&D, including the forthcoming TigerGraph Cloud on Google Cloud Platform, as well as expanded multiregional support on Amazon Web Services and Azure. TigerGraph also plans to grow its reach with local support in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand as it scales up with additional hiring in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific.

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Peak.AI raises $21 million to drive enterprise AI adoption

Peak AI

Peak.AI, a startup developing AI solutions for enterprise customers, today announced that it closed a $21 million series B round. The funds, which bring Peak’s total raised to date to $43 million, will drive the company’s R&D and commercial expansion in the U.S. and India, according to CEO Richard Potter. The global enterprise AI market size was valued at $4.68 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach $53.06 billion by 2026, according to Allied Market Research.

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